UPDATE: The Vikings have announced that Mike Zimmer and Adrian Peterson will be available at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday for a press conference at Winter Park. You can view the live stream at Vikings.com.
The Adrian Peterson saga is settling down… at least for now.
According to ESPN’s Ben Goessling, Peterson re-joined the Vikings at OTA’s Tuesday morning.
Peterson: “I’m returning because I want to. I’m a part of this football team and I owe it to the guys I play with and to our coaches.”
— Ben Goessling (@GoesslingESPN) June 2, 2015
Goessling reported that the running back’s return has been in the works since last week, and that Peterson “greatly respects” Coach Zimmer, which is probably instrumental in his appearance this week.
The move came just five days after AP’s rather absurd rant on Twitter, and it’s nice to see that he’s [seemingly] turning his focus back onto the field. Peterson said the following in an email to ESPN:
I’ve been watching this game from the sidelines for far too long,” Peterson said. “My teammates and coaches are important to me. Those relationships matter, and I owe it to those guys. I knew I wanted to come in this week. I had a family obligation last week but I’m ready to put on a Vikings uniform again and get back to work.
Although the initial push looked to be a trade, it became clear that wouldn’t be an option for Peterson. Now, some of the recent issues are supposedly related to Peterson’s contract with Minnesota.
In 2015, No. 28 will be making a robust $12.75 million in a league no longer driven by running backs… not too shabby. However, the $32 million Peterson would make in 2016 and 2017 is not guaranteed, meaning the Vikings could separate from him at any point. Peterson and his agent, Ben Dogra, are pushing for a longer commitment from Minnesota, but let’s remember that the Vikings haven’t seen Peterson play in an entire season, and he’s not exactly young.
“I’ll leave those discussions to my agent, but any player wants to guarantee his future as much as possible,” Peterson said. “I’m focused on what I need to do on the field, what I need to do to prepare for the season.”
Last week, the team made it clear where the leverage lies when Zimmer said, “he can play for us, or he can not play.” It will be interesting to see how the situation plays out and if the Vikings decide to renegotiate Peterson’s contract in any way.
It seems too soon to comfortably call an end to the AP drama, but at least one thing is certain this week: he’s back in purple.